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Ritzka: "Paqa and I are different characters"

FC St. Pauli will be without Leart Paqarada for the home game against FC Heidenheim, which means Lars Ritzka is in with a good chance of making his second start for the Boys in Brown. As you might expect, the 24-year-old left-back came in for particular media attention after training on Tuesday. Here’s a recap of what he had to say to the assembled journalists...

Lars Ritzka on…

...FC Heidenheim: "It's sure to be an interesting game played at high intensity, Heidenheim are known for that. They're the gold standard in statistics such as sprints, high-speed metres and distance covered. We're not bad in those areas either, though, and in our recent meetings we've shown we can hold our own."

...our home form: "We've had a few draws recently, but we haven't lost a home game in a long time, which is an important aspect for us. Away from home, we're still off the pace for some reason. Here at the Millerntor, with a packed crowd behind us, it's a completely different game for us."

...playing under floodlights: "I have to say I'm more a midday game type of guy (he laughs).

...changing the way he prepares when he starts: "I no longer do that. Last year, Paqa was a doubt for the Sandhausen game and then it was postponed due to the pandemic. Paqa can always catch a cold or pick up an injury, so I'm preparing in the normal way."

Lars Ritzka came on for the injured Leart Paqarada at Regensburg.

Lars Ritzka came on for the injured Leart Paqarada at Regensburg.

...ways to learn from Leart Paqarada: "We're different characters. Paqa is much more creative than me and wants a lot more of the ball. Attacking with the ball is the main thing I try to learn from watching him. I'm more athletic and focused on defending."

...training during the international break: "We try to improve every time we play and are working on different topics. There are lots of small things for us to look at rather than any particular issue. We defended well at Regensburg and gave little away. The focus in the smaller training group has been on intensity on transition in small game-related exercises."

...the current standings: "We learned not to look at the table last season. There are things we need to work on regardless of where we are in the standings. We want to stay true to our way of playing."

...the rainy weather: "I prefer it, but maybe that's a defender thing. Sliding tackles are more fun and the game is faster."

...playing for the Under-23s: "You can't replicate the intensity of a 90-minute game in training. I'd rather play for the first team, of course, but I'll play wherever I'm needed."


Photos: Witters